Rubens Barrichello is leaving his native Brazil on Tuesday to fly to Europe for the Monaco Grand Prix. "After the race in Austria, I felt in bad shape physically, so going home to Brazil was the ideal plan, especially as I had not been home since...
Rubens Barrichello is leaving his native Brazil on Tuesday to fly to Europe for the Monaco Grand Prix. "After the race in Austria, I felt in bad shape physically, so going home to Brazil was the ideal plan, especially as I had not been home since the race at Sao Paulo," said the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. "So, for a few days, I took things very easy as I did not want to overdo the physical training. I wanted my body to recover naturally. Since then, I have been feeling completely fit again and have returned to my usual physical training programme."
Barrichello is currently third in the world championship, 12 points behind his team-mate and he hopes to close that gap this weekend. "I am looking forward to flying back to Europe for the Monaco Grand Prix and I will arrive in a very positive frame of mind," he said. "Let's just say I am getting bored with finishing third! There have been some races where I could have done much better and maybe won. At the last race in Austria, I felt I had the most consistent car on the track and my strategy meant I was planning to do a lot of overtaking. However the rain rather spoilt that plan and I had to settle for third."
The difficulty of overtaking in Monaco has always given added importance to qualifying and this year, the Saturday afternoon session is something of an unknown quantity with the one-lap format and the rule banning refuelling until after the start of the race. "Formula 1 in general has produced better racing for the spectators this year," is Barrichello's view of the season so far.
"But I think that in Monaco and also quite possibly in Hungary, we are going to see a weekend that is about qualifying rather than racing. That single lap on Saturday is going to be the key and you will need a car that can do a quick one lap even with a relatively heavy fuel load. I am sure though that this weekend we will see some cars which do not usually appear near the front of the grid, doing just that."
"It is going to be tough, but very interesting in terms of spending a lot of time working out the strategy. But a quick driver towards the back of the grid is going to struggle and most of the overtaking will take place in the pits. This race has traditionally been a one stop race, but I think that might not be the case this year."
Changes to the track layout are another unknown this year. "I am looking forward to seeing the track, as I know there are some modifications, particularly at the Swimming Pool section and also many parts, including the pit straight and the run to the first corner has been resurfaced to get rid of some of the bumps," explained Rubens.
"That should make a difference for the start. Obviously, from a car point of view, we will be running an aerodynamic package suited to the slow nature of the course and tyres will be another critical factor this weekend. You need a tyre that comes up to temperature quickly and provides plenty of grip for the qualifying lap, but is also consistent for a long stint in the race."
With three second places in the Principality, the Brazilian has good cause to be optimistic about this famous race. "Overall, this is always a race to look forward to," maintained Barrichello. "It is one of the most important races in the world, up there with the Indy 500 for example. I love the fact we still come here, even if you have to accept it is not the safest of tracks."